For progressives there are a lot of reasons to be wary of Newark Mayor Cory Booker as our next US Senator, no the least of which are his closeness to Wall Street and corporate interests and his backing of educational “reform” that has been demonstrated as no more effective than existing public education while damaging public education.
For some progressives — find some on our Facebook page — these issues raise enough concerns that voting for Booker is problematic. Some even say they will sit out the election or vote for a third party candidate that can’t win rather than cast a ballot for Booker. For these folks Booker’s long advocay for marriage equality, civil rights, environmental regulations, participation in Obamacare and guaranteed vote for Democratic court nominees are overshadowed by his conservative economic stances.
But if we sit out the election, Booker won’t notice. If you vote for a third party candidate, Booker won’t notice. Sitting out or voting for a sure loser doesn’t send a message, doesn’t achieve anything except making the individual feel better about their personal actions.
Frankly, I don’t see the point. One of the things I like best about progressives is we like to accomplish things. Even our protests for things we are sure to lose are supposed to move the discussion forward. We like to make things happen. And sitting out doesn’t do that.
So I racked my brain and came up with an idea we can do together to make the point that we are willing to vote for Booker, but would prefer candidates who are progressive not only on social issues, but also on economic issues. And we want Booker to come to our side on those economic issues.
Write In Booker.
In this way we get to have our protest vote but still guarantee the regressive Lonegan will not win.
And Booker has to run again in 12 months for the full Senate term, against a much tougher candidate than Lonegan. In 2014 he will need progressives to be his margin. If we can get three, four or five percent or more of Booker’s votes to be write-ins this year it will send a message that we’re holding our noses this time, but next year may not bother if he doesn’t come around and stand with us on the issues that are important to us.
Interestingly, it’s thanks to Chris Christie’s megalomania that we may be able to pull this stunt off. Yesterday only 10% of the voting public turned out to vote, and in the October general turnout will be similarly low. With such minimal participation we can send the message that we want more and better Democrats.
We all have to agree to work together on this, to promote the idea in e-mails, on Blue Jersey, on Facebook, to our friends. We need to partner with other progressive organizations who can help spread the word, and even with Democratic party organs who backed Rush Holt and Frank Pallone as progressive alternatives.
This publicity is necessary not just to get our numbers up so they’re noticeable, but also to ensure the party and Booker campaign hear us and know what we’re doing.
So, will you join us? Will you, whether you like or dislike Booker, write him in instead of voting on the party line this year?
Tell us in the comments.